Coffee Shop Ratings: Chicago


I moved to Chicago in the summer of 2020, and that brought a lot of life changes. One thing that hasn’t changed is my habit of visiting and critiquing coffee shops. However, in the throes of Coronavirus quarantine, my priorities have shifted considerably – mostly toward good coffee and service, with less emphasis on seating, aesthetic, and wifi, for obvious reasons.

The following are arranged from highest- to lowest-rated.

Starbucks

Ever reliable, my new Starbucks in Little Italy serves a huge variety of coffee drinks of consistent if unimpressive quality. Mobile order is more helpful than ever now that I go to coffee shops just to get a drink and leave. However, my coffee standards have increased over the years and Starbucks’ drip coffees are at the very bottom of the worth drinking range for me.
Apple Pay
Yes
WiFi
😐
Overall Rating
7

The Coffee Alley

THE Coffee Alley has rapidly become my default option in Chicago, despite its unexpected definite article evoking shades of Buckeye arrogance (all parties involved would do best to just drop the the). It’s close to my home and its lattes are slightly above average; what more could you want? Other than better lattes. The environment seems like a good place to sit and work, which I hope to test someday. For now, it fills an important role in my life as the only place within five minutes where I can get a decent latte, and for that it gets a decent rating.
Apple Pay
Yes
WiFi
?
Overall Rating
6

Ground Up

I learned about Ground Up via Foursquare, an app I’ve found to be a decent indicator of where I can find good coffee. However, my disappointment was enormous upon purchasing and tasting my first beverage, an iced latte. The coffee flavors were a rare combination of weak and burned. Not to rush to judgments, I returned a week later and ordered another. Turns out that rushing wouldn’t have been so bad. Still, the place is interesting, clean, and well-lit; one can walk in with a few dollars and leave with a latte. That’s a 3.
Apple Pay
Yes
WiFi
?
Overall Rating
3